I Shoot, Therefore I Exist (Visual Sociology #003)

"I shoot, therefore I exist": Photo by Claudia Vallvé (2013)

“I shoot, therefore I exist”: Photo by Claudia Vallvé (2013)

I shoot, therefore I exist

by Claudia Vallvé, Barcelona 

This is my street. I see them every day, any hour of the day. By dozens. Standing there. Taking their photos. They come, they shoot, they go. Average of stay: 3 to 5 minutes. 30 minutes if they go to the gift shop on the left. When their trip is finished, they’ll go back to their homes, with their cameras full of images: buildings, streets, self-portraits. Taking their photographs makes them feel that they own this city. My city.

Paradoxically, the day I took this photo, a big demonstration was held in Barcelona. Just 100 meters from this place thousands of people were asking for better conditions at work, better access to housing, better education and social care systems… But this is not included in touristic guides. Just a nuisance, like the poor man with his kids and their balloons, slaloming among the multitude of tourists.

Tourism. The maximum form of modern consumerism. Coming, shooting and leaving. This is it.

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Claudia Vallvé (claudiavallve@xarxaconsultors.com) is a sociologist based in Barcelona. She is founding partner of Xarxa Consultors (www.xarxaconsultors.com), a network of freelance professionals working in social research and consultancy. Claudia develops social investigations in different areas – mainly related to social welfare, employment, education and gender issues. In her blog, Cuestión de Método, she reflects on methodological issues (http://claudiavallve.com/, in Spanish and Catalan). Claudia has kindly agreed to share some of her experience as researcher on SI soon!

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